SB20-029 (Fields & Moreno/Coleman and Duran) Cost of Living Adjustment for Basic Cash Assistance
When the bill was originally introduced, it would have increased the amount of Basic Cash Assistance (BCA) for families and would have implemented an annual Cost of Living Adjustment to BCA moving forward. As amended, the bill would use federal funds to provide an immediate, one-time payment of $500 to families who are enrolled in TANF, to help these families meet their basic needs right now in the current crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Children’s Campaign strongly supports this bill. As the work of the legislative session largely came to a halt in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, policymakers and advocates shifted our focus to protecting the health and well-being of Coloradans as the outbreak threatens our health and our economy. We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. As the legislature makes difficult choices about the budget and how to support Colorado’s recovery now and into the future, it is critical to provide support to families who are facing some of the greatest barriers to security. Families enrolled in TANF, who are experiencing extreme poverty, need additional money in their pockets as soon as possible to help weather the immediate effects of the crisis. The additional barriers that these families will face in meeting basic needs now and as state begins to recover make it even more critical to prioritize a way to provide cash assistance to these families as soon as possible.
The bill as amended would use federal funds to provide an immediate, one-time payment of $500 to families who are enrolled in TANF, to help these families meet their basic needs right now, including diapers, formula, and bus passes. This one-time payment will help families make ends meet during the current crisis, and will help make up for the fact that BCA has not adjusted for inflation since the program was created in 1996, and hasn’t kept up with the cost of living in Colorado.
Passed the House on a vote of 41-21 as amended, and repassed the Senate on a vote of 31-3. It now heads to the governor’s desk for signature. Sarah Barnes, our Manager of Special Policy Initiatives, submitted testimony in support of the bill.
January 17, 2020
Assigned to the Senate Finance Committee
February 14, 2020
Passed out of the Senate Finance Committee unanimously on Feb. 11 and now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Katie Creedon, our It’s About Kids Network Manager, testified in support.
Passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously and now heads to the Senate floor, where it will be placed on the consent calendar
June 5, 2020
Passed in the Senate unanimously, and was introduced in the House and assigned to the House Education Committee, where it is scheduled to be heard on Saturday, June 6 upon adjournment in the Old State Library